I get up an hour later than planned because I’ve changed timezones without realising. Only came north so didn’t expect it. Breakfast is the usual Russian buffet of warm things that should be cold and cold things that should be hot, and that usually should be eaten at dinner time, not breakfast. Still, it fills me up, replenishes caffeine levels and provides a lunch of cereal bars that I stuff in my pocket on the way out. It rains hard all morning while I try to sort out my insurance problem. Eventually the lovely Maria on the the reception desk helps me track down an insurance place and before long that problem is solved. It costs a bit more than it would have at the border, but it’s still a lot cheaper than paying off a traffic cop in the middle of Siberian nowhere, so I can proceed without having to be too nervous about being stopped. None of the ATMs round here want to accept my card so I have to find a bank to get cash. Then I need batteries for the replacement satnav, which unlike the original doesn’t run off the power supply I hardwired to my bike. Eventually, all problems are solved, except for changing my leftover Mongol money which nobody here wants. Should have just taken the really bad rate from the money changers at the border, but too late. By lunchtime the rain stops but as you can see in the photo, standing water in Siberia is a big deal! The roads are like rivers, the pavements not much better. On foot in my waterproof biking boots it’s no problem, but on the bike it would be very tricky.
After making good use of my hard-won working laptop and internet access I’ll try popping over to Lake Baikal, so that after an extra, unplanned night in UU because of this rain, I’ll be ready to head east tomorrow, hoping it’s not going to be too badly waterlogged.